Otara Christmas lights dubbed the new Franklin Rd

A south Auckland suburb has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland with hundreds of lights.

Operation Christmas is in full swing in Cooper Crescent in Otara, and locals have dubbed it the new Franklin Rd. Franklin Rd in Ponsonby is world famous in New Zealand for its Christmas lights, but now the trendy street has a challenger from an unlikely source.

"We just got everybody together and said, 'Hey, let's do something awesome for the community,' and everyone got on board and now you have Otara's very first ever, in the history of Otara, lit-up street," says organiser Swanie Nelson.

It's a chance for those who can't visit Franklin Rd to experience something special in south Auckland.

"Spending petrol and taking your car and parking just isn't a priority for most people," says Ms Nelson.

"That was also really one of the hearts behind this - to enable people living here somewhere to get to within walking distance, or close driving distance, to experience what we get to see every year in the outer suburbs, and I think we've really achieved that."

The idea was spread through social media and word-of-mouth, and soon the whole of Cooper Crescent got on board.

The lights are solar-powered and most of the decorations are recycled.

Ms Nelson's husband helped put some together.

"We have these tyres from our local Tyre World here in Otara," Ms Nelson says.

"I kid you not, they're some of the most comfortable chairs ever, and people come down here every night and you see them sitting at all the tables together. It's amazing."

Visitors can check out the display from 9pm till 11:30pm, and each night also has a theme.

There will also be food - you can't get spinach and feta muffins for a buck in Ponsonby - and there's karaoke too.

One thing's for sure - Franklin Rd has some tough competition.